ROCK HILL, S.C. – On the eve of the 2018 baseball season, the senior duo of outfielder William Thomas and shortstop Tyler Miller have earned Preseason Second-Team All-South Atlantic Conference honors, while the Trojans have been picked to finish 10th in the South Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office on Friday.
Thomas was named Second-Team All-Conference at the conclusion of last season and was one of three players, including Miller, to draw a starting nod in all 48 games. A native of Irmo, S.C., Thomas led the team and ranked 10th in the conference with a .375 batting average, while pacing the Trojans with 75 hits and 34 runs scored. He was third on the team with a .420 slugging percentage and drew 11 walks, while posting a .991 fielding percentage with just one error on the season.
He recorded two doubles, two triples and one home run and led the team with a .410 on-base percentage. Thomas posted a team-high 24 multi-hit games, including two games with five hits and notched a season-high eight-game hitting streak from late February into early March.
Miller garnered Honorable Mention All-SAC accolades following his junior campaign, while starting 41 games on the left side of the infield and seven in the outfield. The Anderson, S.C., native was second on the team with a .326 batting average and 63 hits and tied for the team lead with 10 doubles. He was also second on the team with 18 walks and 33 runs scored and notched a .946 fielding percentage.
Miller recorded 19 multiple-hit games, including five with at least three hits and posted a team-high 16-game hitting streak to close out the season, while reaching base in 17 straight games to wrap up the season.
Catawba was chosen first in the annual preseason poll, marking the sixth consecutive year the Catawba Indians have received the top spot, as the head coaches gave Catawba nine first-place votes and a total of 99 points in the poll which coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.
Lincoln Memorial was voted No. 2 in the poll with 90 points and one first place vote, while Newberry came in at No. 3 with 73 points. Tusculum came in fourth with 72 points, with Carson-Newman and Mars Hill tied for No. 5 with 58 points. Wingate was voted No. 7 with 48 points. Coker took the No. 8 spot with 40 points, followed by Lenoir-Rhyne with 34 points at No. 9 and Anderson at No. 10 with 22 points.
The South Atlantic Conference baseball season gets underway on Thursday, Feb. 1. The 2018 Pilot Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship is slated for April 26-30 at Smokies Stadium in Kodak, Tenn.
Anderson will play host to King, Saturday, Feb. 3 in the 2018 season-opening doubleheader as part of a five-game homestand to open the campaign. First-pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Admission to Trojan baseball games is $5 - students, faculty and staff, along with members of the Trojan Club are admitted free of charge.
2018 SAC Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll
Team (1st-place votes) Points
1. Catawba (9) 99
2. Lincoln Memorial (1) 90
3. Newberry 73
4. Tusculum 72
5. Carson-Newman 58
Mars Hill 58
7. Wingate 48
8. Coker 40
9. Lenoir-Rhyne 34
10. Anderson 22
2018 Preseason All-Conference First Team
OF – Luke Setzer, Catawba
OF – Logan Augustine, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Brett Brubaker, Mars Hill
1B – Timmy Wages, Lincoln Memorial
2B – Kyle Smith, Catawba
SS – Tyler Adams, Lincoln Memorial
3B – Brett Langhorne, Carson-Newman
C – Matt Honeycutt, Mars Hill
DH – Ben Herring, Newberry
SP – Hunter Shepherd, Catawba
SP – Zac Brown, Mars Hill
SP – Evan Estridge, Newberry
RP – Griffin Hollifield, Coker
All-SAC Second Team
OF – William Thomas, Anderson
OF – Mason Ewers, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Ty Andrus, Wingate
1B – Chance Bowden, Catawba
2B – Daulton Martin, Tusculum
SS – Tyler Miller, Anderson
3B – Christian Stampler, Mars Hill
C – Andrew Llewellyn, Wingate
DH – Bradley Brown, Wingate
SP – Jared Mathewson, Mars Hill
SP – Will Gardner, Carson-Newman
SP – Hunter Hamilton, Wingate
RP – Dominic Morabito, Lincoln Memorial